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loads flatbed stepdeck,freight opendeck aerodynamic

what are some ways to make a flatbed or opendeck loads aerodynamic?

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The best thing on a tarped load is to keep the tarps tight, this will also help your tarps last longer but it's sometimes easier said than done. One other thing on a tarped load like slinkies is to run two 2" staps from a stake pocket on the front of the trailer to a stake pocket on the back of the trailer to support the tarps and give you a consistent load height.

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Put it in a box trailer with a nose cone ! If that isn't an option, then mimic a box trailer ,by making the load compact and solid (no open pockets in the freight). Make a V shaped tail out of ply wood and lumber. Do the same in the front,if the load is more than 38" away from the cab. Keep the load as low as possible on the deck. Start the load in front with smaller pieces,then 'grow' the load to the center of the trailer, then taper it off to the rear. DO NOT LOAD A BUCKET LOADER WITH THE BUCKET FORWARD ! Face it to the rear. Don't carry dunnage crossways on the trailer. Just try to smooth it up any way you can.Visualize an upside down boat.

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Some loads can't be made aerodynamic, the more pieces and parts hanging off a piece of equiptment the worse your milage will be...with a sprayer (legal height/12' wide lots of junk hanging off) i lose almost 1.5 mpg...and they aren't that heavy

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AIRTAB Tractors and Flatbeds

Does the back of a tractor look like the back of a trailer? From an aerodynamic standpoint, the answer is yes. Although their appearances differ somewhat because of the presence of side and roof fairings, a fully faired tractor bobtailing or hauling a flat bed and the back of a dry van or reefer trailer are aerodynamic equivalents. That is, they both create base pressure drag.

BASE PRESSURE DRAG is an aerodynamic term that describes the “suction” or low PRESSURE area (which creates DRAG) that occurs at the BASE area (or at the back of) any bluff bodied object traveling at speed. A “bluff body” is another aerodynamic term that describes any square backed object. The backs of tractors, straight trucks, dry vans, reefers etc are perfect examples of bluff bodies.

Consider the tractor with no trailer. The back of the tractor creates a base pressure drag component. So what aerodynamic changes occur when you hook up to an empty flatbed trailer? Nothing really. The tractor will continue to generate fuel robbing base pressure drag at the rear of the cab with the empty trailer attached.

If you place a load on the flatbed trailer does the base pressure drag at the back of tractor go away? Probably not. It depends on what the load is and how close you place it to the back of the tractor. If the load is anything past 18 inches from the trailing edges of the side extenders, the base drag is still present. The rule of thumb for the tractor-trailer gap with a tractor and dry van is for every 10 inches of gap area over 30 inches you loose 1/10 MPG. Weight permitting, the position of the load on the flatbed should be considered as the same as the tractor / trailer gap with a dry van. In fact, the reason fairings and side extenders came into existence is because a tractor hauling a box van with a huge gap, aerodynamically speaking, was really 2 vehicles being pulled by 1 motor. Tractor streamlining and gap adjustments have only gone part way to address drag in this area. Flatbed haulers should review the solution to base drag at Airtab.com .

Airtab, LLC

Aeroserve Technologies Ltd. March 31, 2006

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